Langmuir-Blodgett assembly of colloidal crystals combined with controlled infiltration of conducting metal oxides

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Kinsella, John Colm Christopher
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University College Cork
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Colloidal photonic crystals (PhCs) possess a periodic dielectric structure which gives rise to a photonic band gap (PBG) and offer great potential in the ability to modify or control light at visible wavelengths. Although the refractive index contrast between the void or infill and the matrix material is paramount for photonics applications, integration into real optoelectronics devices will require a range of added functionalities such as conductivity. As such, colloidal PhCs can be used as templates to direct infiltration of other functional materials using a range of deposition strategies. The work in this thesis seeks to address two challenges; first to develop a reproducible strategy based on Langmuir-Blodgett (LB) deposition to assemble high quality colloidal PhCs based on silica with precise film thickness as most other assembly methods suffer from a lack of reproducibility thickness control. The second is to investigate the use of LBdeposited colloidal PhCs as templates for infiltration with conducting metal oxide materials using vapor phase deposition techniques. Part of this work describes the synthesis and assembly of colloidal silica spheres with different surface chemical functionalities at the air-water interface in preparation for LB deposition. Modification of surface funtionality conferred varying levels of hydrophobicity upon the particles. The behaviour of silica monolayer films at the air-water interface was characterised by Brewster Angle Microscopy and surface pressure isotherms with a view to optimising the parameters for LB deposition of multilayer colloidal PhC films. Optical characterisation of LB-fabricated colloidal PhCs indicated high quality photonic behaviour, exhibiting a pseudo PBG with a sharp Bragg diffraction peak in the visible region and reflectance intensities greater than 60%. Finally the atomic layer deposition (ALD) of nominally undoped ZnO and aluminium “doped” ZnO (Al-doped ZnO) inside the pores of a colloidal PhC assembled by the LB technique was carried out. ALD growth in this study was performed using trimethyl aluminium (TMA) and water as precursors for the alumina and diethyl zinc (DEZn) and water for the ZnO. The ZnO:Al films were grown in a laminate mode, where DEZn pulses were substituted for TMA pulses in the sequences with a Zn:Al ratio 19:1. The ALD growth of ZnO and ZnO:Al in colloidal PhCs was shown to be highly conformal, tuneable and reproducible whilst maintaining excellent photonic character. Furthermore, at high levels of infiltration the opal composite films demonstrated significant conductivity.
Colloidal crystals , Zinc oxide , Langmuir-Blodgett , Atomic layer deposition
Kinsella, J. C. C. 2015. Langmuir-Blodgett assembly of colloidal crystals combined with controlled infiltration of conducting metal oxides. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.